Festival madness!

I’ve just had a couple of months of very intense festival-ing! Starting with The Grand Northern Uke Festival at the beginning of May, I then flew off to California for a week at The West Coast Ukulele Retreat,  then Winchester Uke Fest, followed by The Ukulele Festival of Scotland, and finally (the final) Ukulele Festival of Great Britain.

Getting a little help from Dead Man’s Uke at The Ukulele Festival of Scotland. Photo by James Millar.

All of these events were so different, each really special in it’s own way. Some (like the West Coast Retreat, which isn’t a festival!) are more geared towards learning, immersing yourself in ukulele, guided by instructors, whilst others are more biased towards performances, but what struck me most was what they all had in common. Great people, great experiences (for attendees and performers), and wonderful friends. I feel immensely privileged to be in this remarkable world.

photo: James Millar

Workshops at the Grand Northern Uke Festival

I’m really pleased to be back at the Grand Northern Uke Festival again this year, along with over 30 other acts, including Aaron and Nicole Keim (The Quiet American), Manitoba Hal, Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee, Zoe Bestel, Dead Man’s Uke, Adam Franklin and Ian Emmerson. If you’re um-ing and ah-ing about coming, don’t wait. It’s just £39 for a weekend ticket, which is getting pretty close to £1 an act!

There are, of course, workshops too. I’m running a brand new workshop called ‘Jamming Essentials’, which will teach you how to get stuck in playing with other people, even when you don’t know the song, without having to go searching on the internet for the chords!

See you there!

Uke East Festival

On Saturday 25th October I’ll be in Norwich for the Uke East festival (www.uke-east.co.uk), where I’ll be running a fingerpicking workshop (sold out I’m afraid!) and performing along with Sophie Madeleine, The Toots, Artemiss,  Liam Capper-Starr, Norwich Ukulele Society and Ben Rouse.

All profits will go to the Musical Keys charity, tickets are £16.

A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2014

GNUF 2014  And wasn’t it grand! I had such an amazing time, both performing and watching the other acts (what a line-up!) It was a real privilege to be able to perform alongside some wonderful players and great to catch up with good friends.  Huge thanks to the organisers,
it was a weekend  I shan’t forget in a hurry!
And tickets are already available for next year’s festival (22nd-24th May 2015). I’ll be there!

Mainstage Mashup
On stage with all of the main stage acts. We’re playing ‘Bottle Up and Go” lead by the magnificent Del Rey.
Finale
The Grand Finale
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
The brilliant Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain bringing the festival to a close, with two fabulous sets.
GNUF 2015
GNUF 2015

The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain

What a weekend that was! I’m just about recovered from the late night jams and early morning workshops at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain. I’m bound to miss someone off (sorry!), as it was absolutely packed, but it was a pleasure and a privilege to play on the bill with so many brilliant players from all over the world. Liam Capper-Starr, Ben Rouse, Piers Partridge, Jono And The Uke Dealers, Dead Mans Uke (always cool to meet up and jam!), Mother Ukers (thanks for the T shirt!), Tomoki Sato and his band, Ukulollo (great CD, thanks!), U.K.E, Ryo Natoyama, Craig Chee (thanks for the chocs!) The Hot Potato Syncopators, Ukulele Uff and Lonesome Dave (and the fabulous Bill on steel guitar), Sarah Maisel (it was so much fun to play lap steel with you!), and Taimane Gardner & Jazzy Jazz- every single one of you blew me away!
All the people who came to my workshops, you were so good, and so up for trying everything I threw at you!
Massive thanks to the organisers (Alison Jarvis, Phil Collins, Tony Hodder and Judith Baker) for inviting me and all of their team of helpers who made everything run so smoothly- you made a great thing happen (again!)
Thanks to Daniel Eastwood, Rachel Holmwood and all the crew who made the sound amazing for both the performers and the crowd, and spent hours setting it all up and breaking it all down again.
It was great to meet up with so many old friends, and finally meet people who had, up until now, only been a tiny icon on my facebook feed!
Another triumph!

There I am, on the right playing lap steel with the fabulous Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel and James Agg!
There I am, on the right playing lap steel with the fabulous Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel and James Agg!